August 10, 2017 • 2 min read
I’ve been giving technical talks for a few years. I keep a list here.
This makes me nervous, and it’s a major time investment if I’m doing it right. But it’s worth the effort, because it benefits me and others. It’s fueled my growth as a developer.
I’m speaking at Vim Chicago next month about integrating React.js with Vim, and I’d like to use that as an excuse to write about my speaking preparation process.
In forthcoming posts I plan to cover the steps I take to prepare for a talk, which are:
Some smart people have written on these subjects, and anything I’d have to say leverages these ideas:
Several of these writers talk about submitting conference proposals (AKA CFPs, or Call-For-Papers). I don’t plan to cover that in depth. Why not? Because I don’t really know how it works. I submitted more than a few proposals before getting accepted to speak at my first conference, RailsConf 2017. I believe once you can write a compelling proposal, there is a significant element of luck to the process. So, submit many proposals, and be like Thomas Jefferson, who one said: “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
I’ll link to these posts here as I write them. I can’t claim these steps as essential; they just help me. My target reader is somebody who wants to speak and has never done so before. I want you to walk away with encouragement and a step-by-step, jargon-free checklist for preparing a technical talk.